I loved the show EMPIRE starring Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard. Everything about the weekly program was on point, from the storylines to the music and casting. But as I sit here re-watching the season finale, I can’t help but think that the writing team got something horribly wrong.
EMPIRE wasn't just a rags to riches story. It wasn't just a story about one man’s or one woman’s drive for power. It was a show about family dynamics. We were rooting for Cookie AND Lucious. We wanted to see Cookie reconnect with her sons, to be the mother incarceration denied her. We were excited to have Cookie reclaim her man and her position as the family matriarch. And then just like that, the writers snatched that from us, leaving us wanting more...and better.
They got it wrong. Without a doubt, Cookie and Lucious should be our television Barack and Michelle. They should be that power couple kicking ass and taking names as they fight tooth and nail with and for each other and not against each other. There should have been no doubts about Cookie having Lucious' back, even as she put a pillow over his face, frustrated and disappointed with his bad behavior. Cookie should be Lucious’ queen and even with his dirt, he shouldn’t have had any problems letting her, us, and everyone else know it.
With EMPIRE’s massive following, this should be the golden opportunity to demonstrate the sheer power of a black family standing together on that foundation of family, even as they pursue their individual ambitions. We applauded Cookie for beating the disrespect out of her wayward son and we would have applauded her beating the disrespect out of her man. Because Lucious Lyons is HER man, heart and soul, and viewers will always come back for a good love story, anxiously waiting for however many happy endings we can get.
As the writer’s sit around the table, hashing out next season’s story lines I pray that they turn things around and put EMPIRE back on track. They need to get it right. Cookie and Lucious are the fictional Beyoncé and Jay-Z, the black Romeo and Juliet, a modern-day Mark Antony and Cleopatra, and I really want to see them joined in hand and heart, conquering life together, even in those moments when they might be apart.